REVIEW: GLASS

Starring

Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
James McAvoy (Starter for 10)
Bruce Willis (Die Hard)
Sarah Paulson (Ocean’s 8)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch)
Spencer Treat Clark (Much Ado About Nothing)
Charlayne Woodard (Twister)
Luke Kirby (Little Woods)
Leslie Stefanson (The Hunted)

Samuel L. Jackson in Glass (2019)Three weeks have passed since the kidnapping of three young girls orchestrated by Kevin Wendell Crumb, who was dubbed as “the Horde” by the media due to his dissociative identity disorder which produced two dozen identities. One of the girls was Casey Cooke, who survived an attack from the one of Kevin’s personalities, “the Beast”, who allowed her to escape because she was “pure” and had experienced suffering at the hands of a sexually abusive uncle. Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, and James McAvoy in Glass (2019)David Dunn (a superhuman vigilante dubbed “the Overseer” by the internet) and his son Joseph track down Kevin to an abandoned factory where he has four cheerleaders hostage, but David is confronted and attacked by the Beast. Their battle is stopped by a group of police officers led by Dr. Ellie Staple, who places both men in Raven Hill Memorial Mental Institution. David’s destined foe and terrorist – Elijah Price / Mr. Glass – is also being held there for bombing the Eastrail 177 train 16 years ago (the train crash of which David was the sole survivor and exposed his superhuman nature).[N 2] David and Kevin are placed in separate rooms, each with unique security measures to prevent them from escaping or posing a threat. David is placed in a specialized room which would blast water to him, which he considers his Achilles’s heel. Kevin is then placed in a room with “hypnotic lights” which will force one personality to change to another once activated.Staple explains that her job is to convince those who believe they are superhuman but in fact they are simply deluded figures; she tells them she has been given three days to convince each of them of this, otherwise they will be sent to trial. Staple gets help from Elijah’s mother, Joseph, and Casey, who all visit at different ocassions, but fail to convince them. As part of her final evaluation, Staple brings the three men to a room together where she tests David and Kevin’s psyches. That night, Elijah escapes his cell to research about Kevin but is discovered by Staple who performs a prefrontal lobotomy on him. However, Elijah had already sabotaged the machine earlier, in anticipation of what will happen if he gets caught. Elijah is returned to his cell but escapes again after killing his caretaker Daryl. He then breaks out Kevin and allies himself with the Beast. Elijah contacts David and announced his plan to reveal the Horde at a new skyscraper in the city of Philadelphia, where he also plans to blow up a chemical company unless David stops the Beast.Convinced, David begins to pursue the Beast outside the institution, but Joseph intervenes. He reveals that Kevin’s father died in the same train crash David survived, which left Kevin alone with his mother to abuse him; hence the creation of his personalities, sworn to protect Kevin. The Beast thanks Elijah for his creation but turns on him and breaks him for Kevin’s protection. He then turns to David and throws him to the water-tank. David regains enough strength to escape the tank. Before the Beast flees to the skyscraper, Casey summons Kevin to the light and he is mortally wounded by one of Staple’s snipers.He dies in Casey’s arms with the Horde giving Kevin the light. One of Staple’s security then kills David by repeatedly shoving his face in a flooded pothole. Staple reveals to David that she is part of a clandestine organization working to conceal the existence of superhumans. Staple goes to a dying Elijah and explains a global theory that masterminds have suppressed and destroyed superhuman heroes and villains for millennia to protect civilization from the tyranny of living “gods” among men. Staple deletes footage from the cameras of the institution to report her mission a success, but discovers Elijah had hacked the computers and live-streamed the footage to a private network. Distraught, Staple enters one of the institution’s hallways and screams over the failed mission. Elijah’s mother, Joseph, and Casey all receive copies of the footage, which they release to the public, revealing the existence of superhumans to the world.This is coming from someone who has been looking forward to this movie for a long time. I thought the acting was fantastic, especially James McAvoy who plays all the personalities fantastically. Bruce Willis doesn’t phone it in and actually does a good job. If you’re expecting a superhero movie, you’re not going to get one. This is most definitely and physcological thriller that happens to have superheroes. This film is filled with incredible memorable moments that you’ll certainly remember walking out of the movie. However, the end will turn a lot of people off, as it goes in directions that are very divisive. If you go in with an open mind, I think you’ll enjoy most of it.

REVIEW: UNBREAKABLE

CAST

Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Robin Wright (The Princess Bride)
Spencer Treat Clark (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Charlayne Woodard (The Crucible)
Leslie Stefanson (As Good AS It Gets)
Laura Regan (Minority Report TV)
James Handy (Alias)

Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is born with Type 1 osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare disease in which bones break easily. As revealed later in flashbacks, Elijah draws a theory, based on the comic books he has read during his many hospital stays, that if he represents extreme human frailty, perhaps there is someone “unbreakable” at the opposite extreme.
Years later, Philadelphia security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is also searching for meaning in his life. He had given up a promising football career to marry Audrey (Robin Wright) after they were involved in an auto accident. Now, however, their marriage is dissolving, to the distress of their young son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark).
MV5BNjJkNTY3YTAtYjg1My00OGY3LWJkYjgtMmJlOGYwODhkMDg1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_

 

Returning from a job interview in New York, David is the sole survivor of a major train wreck that kills 131 passengers, sustaining no injuries himself. At the memorial for victims of the crash, he finds a card on his car’s windshield, inviting him to Elijah’s store. Elijah proposes to David that he is the kind of person after whom comic-book superheroes are modeled, and repeatedly pursues the issue with David and Audrey, trying to learn whether or not David was ill or injured during childhood. Although unsettled by Elijah, David begins to test himself. While lifting weights with Joseph, he bench presses 350 pounds, well above what he had thought he could do. Joseph begins to idolize his father and believes that he is a superhero, although David still maintains that he is “an ordinary man.”

David challenges Elijah with an incident from his childhood when he almost drowned. Elijah suggests that the incident highlights that superheroes in comic books often have one weakness, and in David’s case it is water. While surveying the stored wreckage of the train crash that he survived, David recalls the car accident that ended his athletics career, remembering that he was unharmed and ripped a door off the car in order to save Audrey. David used the accident as an excuse to quit football, because Audrey did not like the sport. Under Elijah’s influence, David develops what he thought was an unusual insight into human behavior into an extra-sensory perception by which he can glimpse criminal acts committed by the people he makes contact with. At Elijah’s suggestion, David stands in the middle of a crowd in a Philadelphia railroad station. As people bump into him, he senses the crimes they perpetrated, and finds one he can act on: a sadistic janitor who invaded a home, killed the parents, and is holding the children prisoner.
David follows the janitor to the victims’ house and frees the children, but is ambushed by the janitor who pushes him off a balcony into a swimming pool. David nearly drowns, but is rescued by the children. He then attacks the janitor from behind and strangles him to death. That night, he reconciles with Audrey. The following morning, he secretly shows a newspaper article on this anonymous heroic act, depicting a sketch of David in his rain poncho, to his son, who recognizes the hero as his father. David attends an exhibition at Elijah’s comic book art gallery and meets Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard), who explains the difference between villains who fight heroes with physical strength versus those who use their intelligence. Elijah brings David to the back room of his studio, extends his hand, and asks David to shake it. Upon doing so, David sees visions of Elijah orchestrating several fatal disasters, including perpetrating David’s train accident, causing hundreds of deaths. David is horrified, but Elijah insists that the deaths were justified as a means to find him. Calling himself “Mr. Glass”, he explains that his own purpose in life is to be David’s antithesis.
Screen captions reveal that David reported Elijah’s actions to the police, and that Elijah was convicted of murder and terrorism, and committed to an institution for the criminally insane.This film is more than just a tale with a twist; every character in this film is damaged or missing something in his or her life and the film is as much about a quietly failing dysfunctional family as it is about the resolution of the mystery. A great film with some great twists and turns.

REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

CAST

Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood)
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Jim Broadbent (The Iron Lady)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Casper Crump (Legends of Tomorrow)
Hadley Fraser (Les Miserables)
Genevieve O’Reilly (Avatar)
Simon Russell Beale (Spooks)
Ben Chaplin (Cinderella)

As a result of the Berlin Conference, the Congo Basin is claimed by King Leopold II of the Belgians, who rules the Congo Free State in personal union with the Kingdom of Belgium. The country is on the verge of bankruptcy, Leopold having borrowed huge amounts of money to finance the construction of railways and other infrastructure projects. In response, he sends his envoy Léon Rom (Christoph Waltz) to secure the fabled diamonds of Opar. Rom’s expedition is ambushed and massacred, with only Rom surviving. A tribal leader, Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou), offers him the diamonds in exchange for an old enemy: Tarzan.The man once called “Tarzan”, John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård), has long since left Africa behind and settled down in London with his American-born wife, Jane Porter (Margot Robbie), and has taken up both his birth name and ancestral family residence. In the eight years since returning from Africa, Lord Greystoke’s story as Tarzan has become legendary among the Victorian public, although Lord Greystoke himself wishes to leave the past behind him. Through the British Prime Minister (Jim Broadbent), he is invited by King Leopold to visit Boma and report on the development of the Congo by Belgium, though Greystoke politely declines the invitation. An American envoy, George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), who recognises John from the stories of “Tarzan”, privately reveals to him that he suspects the Belgians are enslaving the Congolese population, and persuades him to accept the invitation in order to prove his suspicions.Jane is disappointed when John tells her that she cannot come, as he believes the trip to be too dangerous, remembering how both his parents died as a result of the jungle’s brutality following their shipwreck there – his mother of disease and his father later killed by the Mangani apes – leaving the baby John to be raised as Tarzan by his Mangani “mother” Kala and “brother” Akut. However, Jane reminds him that she grew up in Africa as well, and misses her home. John relents, and allows Jane to accompany him.John, Jane and Williams take the trip to the Congo. There, the trio encounters a tribal village and villagers who knew John and Jane during their stay in the jungle. Jane explains to Williams that her husband was once considered an evil spirit by the African tribes, including that of Chief Mbonga. She recalls how, when she was younger, she and her father lived in the tribal village helping to care for local children. There she met Tarzan (made feral and physically enhanced by his life with the apes) who shielded her from a vicious mangani attack, saving Jane’s life but being severely injured in the process. Jane took the injured Tarzan home, nursed him back to health, and the two fell in love. That night, as the tribe sleeps, Rom and his mercenaries attack the village and kidnap John and Jane and kill the tribe’s leader. They then escape to a nearby steamboat with Jane and several of the tribe’s members, but Williams is able to rescue John before he can be taken to the boat.With the aid of the tribe’s warriors, John and Williams intercept a Belgian military train carrying captured slaves, providing Williams with the evidence he needs to expose King Leopold. They also discover that Rom intends to use the diamonds to pay for a massive army to subdue the Congo, and allow Belgium to mine its wealth for Leopold’s benefit. As John and Williams continue onward, John encounters the adult Akut, who is now leader of the apes. Aware that Akut considers him a deserter, John prepares to fight Akut, though he soon loses. That night, as John recovers, Williams recalls the massacres of Native Americans during the Civil War, comparing his actions to be as bad as Rom’s and Leopold’s.On Rom’s steamboat, Jane dines with Rom, before escaping and swimming to shore. Jane stumbles into a group of mangani apes, where she is rescued by Rom, whose men then shoot and kill many of the apes. John saves the remaining group, reconciling with Akut, before pursuing Rom. He is cornered by Mbonga and his tribe, where it is revealed that John once killed Mbonga’s only son for previously killing Kala. A defeated Mbonga tearfully accuses John of lacking honor, as his son was just a young boy when John killed him. John spares Mbonga, just as Akut and the manganis arrive to subdue the tribe. Rom takes Jane and the diamonds to Boma, where he plans to take control of the army. John, Williams and Akut trigger a massive stampede of wildebeest through Boma, destroying the town and distracting the soldiers, allowing John to rescue Jane. As Rom attempts to escape by boat, Williams sinks it with a machine gun as John swims aboard. Rom incapacitates John by strangling him and then tying him by the neck to the ship’s railing, before trying to escape again. John then summons crocodiles with a mating call to devour him, before escaping the destroyed vessel himself.Williams returns to England and presents the Prime Minister with evidence exposing the slave trade in the African Congo. One year later, John and Jane, having remained in Africa and settled in Jane’s father’s old house, welcome their first child, as John, Lord Greystoke, returns to his rightful place among the great apes as Tarzan.They finally portrayed the Tarzan character more like Burroughs wrote him! This is the best Tarzan movie I have ever seen. The acting is superb, and the settings are beautiful. The movie was so good that it seemed like I wanted it to last longer. It was sheer entertainment!

REVIEW: BARELY LETHAL

CAST

Hailee Steinfeld (Ender’s Game)
Sophie Turner (Game of thrones)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane)
Dove Cameron (Descendants)
Thomas Mann (Project X)
Rob Huebel (Life As We Know It)
Toby Sebastian (The Hollow Crown)
Gabriel Basso (Super 8)
Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Alexandra Krosney (Last Man Standing)
Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts)
Steve-O (Jackass)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Emma Holzer (Spring Breakers)
Demetrius Bridges (The Duff)

TUJHTJTYJTYJTYJYTJThe young female orphans in the government-run Prescott Academy are trained to become assassins. Their number one rule, taught by trainer Hardman (Samuel L. Jackson), is “no attachments”. Agent 83 has top skills, which have made her rivals with Agent 84. 83 has always been curious about the world outside the Academy, brushing up on teen culture through popular magazines and watching movies and TV shows like Mean Girls and Beverly Hills, 90210.  Hardman assigns the agents to capture arms dealer Victoria Knox (Jessica Alba). Undercover in Chechnya, 83 poses as one of those captured and brought before Knox. She manages to latch herself and Knox onto Hardman’s passing jet but Knox pulls a knife and cuts the rope and 83 drops (into a river) as Knox is apprehended. 83 ignores comms calls causing Hardman to declare her MIA.barely-lethal-2-xlarge83 starts life as a regular teenager, adopting the name Megan Walsh and going through an exchange program to live with the Larson family. Mrs. Larson is kind, son Parker instantly likes Megan, but daughter Liz is cold and distant. Megan picks a ridiculous outfit for her first day of school and is laughed at and mocked at her first assembly, leaving both Megan and Liz embarrassed. Megan soon makes friends with a geeky kid named Roger, who has an interest in her. Megan is attracted to Cash, hacking the school’s system to make him her biology lab partner, to the ire of two mean girls. As retaliation, the girls convince Megan that Cash loves girls with school spirit and convince her to try out as the school mascot, for which she is the only contender. When kids from a rival school follow tradition and try to kidnap mascot Megan from a game she fights them off, with a video of her actions going viral. It earns her some popularity, while annoying Liz.barely-lethalMegan is apprehended by a Prescott agent and brought to Hardman. He assumes she is working with their enemies and tells his minion, Pedro, to torture Megan. He injects her with a truth serum and realizes she is honest when she says she only wanted to enjoy a normal life outside the Academy. Hardman lets her go, but warns her that if she gets into trouble, they won’t be there to bail her out. Megan and Liz both attend a big party at the home of the school’s class clown, Gooch. Megan hangs out with Cash, while Liz gets drunk with Gooch, learning that his real name is Bernard. To Megan’s surprise, 84 is there, calling herself Heather. Megan thinks Hardman sent Heather to shadow her, but Heather has her own plans, going after Cash to annoy Megan. Megan eventually wins Cash’s attention and gets asked by him to the homecoming dance.MV5BNTE0NjA4YmItMzFmNy00Zjc0LTllMmQtZDA4NDkyMDJiYTYwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzU5NjU1MDA@__V1_Megan is waiting for the school bus the next morning, and is surprised to see that Hardman is driving, only passing through to warn Megan that Knox has escaped from the Academy. Liz drives Megan to school, but they are pursued by a masked assassin. Megan steers them away from danger while telling Liz her secret. Megan crashes their car, crashing out the assassin as well. The assassin escapes, but Megan recognizes the smell of Ke$ha perfume, deducing that Heather was their attacker.Barely-Lethal-Trailer-TwoAt the homecoming dance, Megan realizes that Cash is a boring person and dumps him. She goes to apologize to Roger, but finds out that his date is Heather, who provokes a fight with Megan. Their fight rambles through the hallways and into the school’s kitchen. Heather reveals she joined Knox’s operation in order to get a chance to kill Megan. Liz sneaks up on Heather and stabs her in the leg with a skewer from a corndog. Megan then uses a frying pan and hits Heather in the head knocking her unconscious and she falls to the floor. The girls return home to find that Knox and some models have taken Parker and Mrs. Larson. Megan fights the goons but Liz gets captured as well. Knox reveals that she was Prescott Agent 1, but she left and turned against them. Hardman shows up with reinforcements and defeats Knox and her goons. Megan uses a Prescott helicopter to stop Roger, who is driving home with his father. She tells Roger her true feelings for him and they kiss. In a mid-credits scene, Heather is in a car with one of Knox’s former minions. She stares at a photo of Megan on a tablet and orders him to find out where she is going to college.v1Believe it or not, this movie is really fun. You gotta give it a chance to truly appreciate it. I went in not expecting anything and I honestly enjoyed it.

REVIEW: JURASSIC PARK

JURASSIC PARK 1

CAST

Sam Neill (The Piano)
Laura Dern (Everything Must Go)
Jeff Goldblum (The Fly)
Richard Attenborough (Doctor Dolittle)
Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network)
Ariana Richards (Timescape)
Bob Peck (The Storyteller)
Martin Ferrero (Get Shorty)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers Assemble)
Miguel Sandoval (Collateral Damage)
B.D. Wong (Gotham)

Industrialist John Hammond and his bioengineering company, InGen, have created a theme park called Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar, a tropical Costa Rican island populated with cloned dinosaurs. After one of the park workers is killed by a Velociraptor, the park’s investors, represented by lawyer Donald Gennaro, insist that experts visit the park and certify it as safe. Gennaro invites mathematician Ian Malcolm, while Hammond invites paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler. Upon arrival, the group is stunned to see a live Brachiosaurus.

At the visitor center, the group learns that the cloning was accomplished by extracting dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes that had been preserved in amber. DNA from frogs was used to fill in gaps in the dinosaur genomes. To prevent breeding, all the dinosaurs were made female. Malcolm scoffs at the idea of such controlled breeding, declaring it impossible. The crew witness the birth of a baby raptor and visit the raptor enclosure. Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm have reservations about the idea of resurrecting dinosaurs, but Hammond and Gennaro dismiss their fears.

The group is then joined by Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy, for a tour of the park, while Hammond oversees the trip from the park’s control room. The tour does not go as planned, with the dinosaurs failing to appear. The group later encounters a sick Triceratops. The tour is cut short as a tropical storm approaches Isla Nublar. Most of the park employees depart on a boat for the mainland and the visitors return to their electric tour vehicles, except Ellie, who stays with the park’s veterinarian to study the Triceratops.

Jurassic Park’s computer programmer, Dennis Nedry, has been bribed by Dodgson, a man involved with a corporate rival, to steal dinosaur embryos. Nedry deactivates the park’s security system to gain access to the embryo storage room. Nedry stores the embryos inside a canister disguised as Barbasol shaving cream, supplied by Dodgson. Because of Nedry, the power goes out and the tour vehicles become stuck. Most of the park’s electric fences are deactivated as well, allowing the Tyrannosaurus to escape and attack the tour group. Grant, Lex, and Tim escape while the Tyrannosaurus injures Malcolm and devours Gennaro. On his way to deliver the embryos to the island’s docks, Nedry becomes lost in the rain, crashes his Jeep, and is killed by a Dilophosaurus.

Sattler assists the park’s game warden, Robert Muldoon, in a search for survivors, but they only find an injured Malcolm before the Tyrannosaurus returns. Grant, Tim, and Lex spend the night in a tree, and befriend a Brachiosaurus. Later, they discover the broken shells of dinosaur eggs. Grant concludes that the dinosaurs have been breeding, which occurred because of their frog DNA—West African bullfrogs can change their sex in a single-sex environment, allowing the dinosaurs to do so as well, proving Malcolm right.

Unable to decipher Nedry’s code to reactivate the security system, Hammond and the park’s chief engineer Ray Arnold opt to reboot the entire park’s system. The group shuts down the park’s grid and retreats to an emergency bunker, while Arnold heads to a maintenance shed to complete the rebooting process. When Arnold fails to return, Sattler and Muldoon head to the shed. They discover the shutdown has deactivated the remaining fences and released the raptors. Muldoon distracts the raptors while Sattler goes to turn the power back on before being attacked by a raptor and discovering Arnold’s severed arm. Meanwhile, Muldoon is caught off-guard and killed by the other two raptors.

Grant, Tim and Lex reach the visitor center. Grant heads out to look for Sattler. Tim and Lex are pursued by the raptors in an industrial kitchen, but they escape and join Grant and Sattler. Lex restores full power from the control room, allowing the group to call for help. The group is cornered by the raptors, but escape when the Tyrannosaurus suddenly appears and attacks the raptors. Hammond arrives in a Jeep with Malcolm, and the entire group boards a helicopter to leave the island.All these years later, the leaps in visual magic that made Jurassic Park such an eye-opening experience at the time still impress, in a film loaded with thrill-ride action, some genuine scares and suspense and general filmmaking expertise on the part of Spielberg and his team.

 

 

REVIEW: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
James Spader (Stargate)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes On A Plane)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Don Cheadle (Traffic)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Idris Elba (acific Rim)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Julie Delpy (Before Sunset)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Henry Goodman (Yes, Prime Minister)
Claudia Kim (The Dark Tower)

MV5BMTk4MjI3NzY4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODY4NjA3._V1_In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers – Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton – raid a Hydra facility commanded by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki. They encounter two of Strucker’s experiments – twins Pietro, who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff, who can manipulate minds and project energy – and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki’s scepter.MV5BMTk4NTc1NTc0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDQ4NjA3._V1_Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. Having killed Strucker, he recruits the Maximoffs, who hold Stark responsible for their parents’ deaths by his weapons, and go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to obtain Wakandan vibranium. The Avengers attack Ultron and the Maximoffs, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing the Hulk (Banner) to rampage until Stark stops him with his anti-Hulk armor.1
MV5BMTU1NzA3OTI1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjg4NjA3._V1_A worldwide backlash over the resulting destruction, and the fears Wanda’s hallucinations incited, send the team into hiding at a safehouse. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination, while Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after realizing a mutual attraction. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron. In Seoul, Ultron forces the team’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic-tissue technology, together with vibranium and the scepter’s gem, to perfect a new body for him. As Ultron uploads himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn against Ultron. Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Romanoff.
MV5BNjczNjAzNjgwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQzMTUzMg@@._V1_The Avengers fight amongst themselves when Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. – who is still operational after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet – into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body, explaining that the gem on its brow – one of the six Infinity Stones, the most powerful objects in existence – was part of his vision. This “Vision” and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine to lift a large part of the capital city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. Banner rescues Romanoff, who awakens the Hulk for the battle. The Avengers fight Ultron’s army while Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, James Rhodes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to evacuate civilians. Pietro dies when he shields Barton from gunfire, and a vengeful Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron’s primary body, which allows one of his drones to activate the machine. The city plummets, but Stark and Thor overload the machine and shatter the landmass. In the aftermath, the Hulk, unwilling to endanger Romanoff by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while the Vision confronts Ultron’s last remaining body.MV5BZDRkOGQwNWItZjQ1ZC00MjU0LWJiZTUtZWIwMjZkMTdhNWM5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_Later, with the Avengers having established a new base run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Stark leaves and Barton retires, Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train new Avengers: Rhodes, the Vision, Sam Wilson, and Wanda. In a mid-credits scene, Thanos, dissatisfied by the failures of his pawns, dons a gauntlet2 and vows to retrieve the Infinity Stones himself.MV5BZmQ0YmE1MTMtYWQ2ZS00ZDNhLWIzOTctNjk4YTQ1YmQzZDZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_The Avengers: Age of Ultron is solid entertainment and best experienced on the big screen. Long-running trappings of shared movie universe storytelling remain, and the novelty of seeing iconic comic book characters together onscreen is just as impressive as it was in The Avengers.

REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – SEASON 1

CAST

Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe)
Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Ian De Caestecker (Filth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Reach Me)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

J. August Richards (Angel)
Shannon Lucio (The O.C)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Sarah Dumont (Don Jon)
Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight)
David Conrad (Roswell)
Ian Hart (Harry Potter)
Ruth Negga (World War Z)
Louis Ozawa Changchien (The Bourne Legacy)
Cullen Douglas (Pure Genius)
Vincent Laresca (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Titus Welliver (The Town)
Maximiliano Hernández (Ringer)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea)
Charles Halford (Constantine)
Peter MacNicol (24)
Erin Way (Colony)
Robert Baker (Supergirl)
Laura Seay (Superbad)
Maximilian Osinski (In Time)
Aiden Turner (All My Children)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Daniel Zovatto (Don’t Breathe)
Christine Adams (BLack Lightning)
Maiara Walsh (The Vampire Diaries)
Carlo Rota (Saw V)
Stan Lee (Super Hero Squad)
Elena Satine (The Gifted)
Bill Paxton (Aliens)
Robert Belushi (How I Met Your Mother)
B.J. Britt (One Tree Hill)
Jaimie Alexander (Thor)
Dylan Bruno (Taken 3)
Brad Dourif (Cult of CHucky)
Adrian Pasdar (Heores)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)

Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg, Iain De Caestecker, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, and Elizabeth Henstridge in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)When Marvel’s cinematic universe first took off, the next move was to make the leap to television, Marvel turned to Avengers director Joss Whedon’s brother Jed and his wife/collaborator Maurissa Tancharoen, who took the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One character Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), the man who helped gather the heroes who became the Avengers, and made him the star of his own series, focused on his team at S.H.I.E.L.D., the international peacekeeping organization run by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson.) The hour-long drama would build off of the well-known heroics, and tell connected tales of espionage, as Coulson and his squad respond to threats to humanity around the world.Now, in case you haven’t seen The Avengers, you should know that in a climactic battle, Coulson was very badly injured, which became a rallying point for the heroes. Well, he’s back, but how he made it back is a large part of the series’ foundation, which is revealed in piecemeal over the course of the first season. Coulson’s search for the truth is intertwined with the arrival of the newest member of his team, a hacker known as Skye (Chloe Bennett), who has plenty of secrets of her own, in part due to her past as a rogue “hacktivist.” Trust is a massive theme in the series, as no one is sure about anyone else but they have to rely on each other if they are going to complete their missions, which remind one of Fringe in a big way, as the team investigates strange phenomena in order to keep humanity safe.Lorelei, Though certainly not a big-name Marvel character (her sister The Enchantress has a much higher profile) and not the first recognizable super-powered character on the show (that would be the cybernetic assassin Deathlok, whose origin is revealed over the course of the season), Lorelei tips the scales with her appearance because she, as an Asgardian, creates a direct link to the world of Thor, and also because she’s followed to Earth by Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), the Asgardian warrior from the two Thor films. Finally, fans exclaimed, there’s some honest to goodness superhero action to be enjoyed, and that was followed by direct ties into the new Captain America movie, picking up the plot from the theaters and bringing its effects home. This was the crossover dream that comics mastered decades ago, and now Marvel was making happen between movies and TV (and you didn’t really even need to see both sides to enjoy them separately.)After offering this cookie to the fans, the series shifted back to the spy game though, where it would stay for the rest of the season, introducing Bill Paxton and Saffron Burrows in major roles) as Coulson’s organization crumbled around him and the team shifted from saving the world to saving each other. Coulson’s team, which, aside from Skye, includes Ward (Brett Dalton), a perfect soldier; badass pilot May (Ming-Na Wen) and science specialists Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), comes together quickly as a unit on the series, establishing their personalities right off the bat, with Skye serving as the show’s young star, showing the old guard how a new generation does the job (though still requiring saving and offering a hearty cry every now and then) and Fitz and Simmons serving as the audience’s tech-loving stand-ins, the most down-to-earth parts of a fantastical realm. May though, with her economy of words and excess of butt-kicking skill, is the “Wolverine” of the show, and her relationship with Coulson serves as a backbone for the series. Naturally, Gregg’s performance is integral to the show, and he continues to shine in the role of Coulson, giving us a smartass secret agent for the ages.While the show is a serial and does well at telling action-adventure arcs of mystery and intrigue, building the mythology and establishing a larger storyline, it could do one-offs as well, including two of the season’s best episodes, “FZZT” which ties into The Avengers while telling a standalone story that put a spotlight on Fitz and Simmons, and “T.R.A.C.K.S.”, which puts the team on a train and tries out some interesting storytelling structure. The show also has its humorous side, taking its tone from the Marvel films, which blend grits with grins (and though Patton Oswalt gets a featured role in one episode, for once, he’s not responsible for the laughs.) For the most part, this mix works well, as it helps illustrate the growing camaraderie between the teammates and keeps the tone light, but it can get out of hand very quickly. The final episode, where much of what’s been revealed over the course of the previous 21 episodes comes to a head, the lightheartedness (thanks to an appearance by a famous friend of the team) goes over the top.